Thursday, October 26, 2006

How I Spent My Eid

Well it started simply enough: grilled fish at Aunt Olfat's. We spend a lot of time there because her health is deteriorating and although the chemo seems to be working, I know from personal experience the cancer can take a turn at any moment.

I'm not a big fan of grilled fish. I like fish, but when the whole fish is served on my plate (including the head), I lose my appetite. I have learned to just pull off the head and put it aside. Recently when we were at Aunt Fawzayya's eating fish (they love fish in Hassan's family and maybe that's why they live so long), Mira translated the following Arabic sentence to me: "Aunt Fawzayya just asked if anyone didn't want their heads." I stopped eating at that point. Mira has a way of picking and choosing what to translate.

Back to Eid. The second day we had Aunt Olfat and her entire family, including cousins over to our place. Guess what we had for dinner: yes, you're right, fish again. Only this time it was extra smoked fish. How was it? Not too bad - reminds me of the kippers I used to eat with my Dad on Saturdays. But too much smoked fish is just too much salt. I'm not a big fan of salt either. Somehow Aunt Olfat made it up the five flights of stairs to our apartment. Amazing what determination can do for someone.

Enough fish for me. It is the equivalent of my lamb Ramadan last year.

After eating, Hassan's cousin the high ranking police officer, brought out his bag of fireworks. I'm not talking just any bag. A really good sized bag of all kinds of fireworks. They started lighting them off the balcony (we're on the top floor), in the hallway outside our apartment, then decided to take it outside for some serious fireworks. It was too loud and definitely too much fire for me.

I don't understand the irony in fireworks. In Egypt people have a difficult time owning guns (actually I don't know anyone except police officers), and in the US anyone can own a gun, but not shoot off fireworks - they're illegal. Go figure.

I explained it to my Egyptian relatives this way: In the US they don't want you to lose a finger or leg or arm, just die by the bullet. I had to make a joke out of it because it actually doesn't make any sense. I'm not a gun advocate although Hassan owned one in the US, but I can see people hunting with them -- take my brother-in-law in Pennsylvania as a perfect example.

So after the police officer cousin finished his bag, in walks his older brother, the officer in the Army with his bag of fireworks. It was a never-ending spectacle of fireworks.

Yesterday we went to the Military Club in Nasr City to have dinner. I don't usually have a hard time getting into the club, just keep my mouth shut as I pass the police and don't look them in the eyes. Of course it's easier in hijab. My nearly deaf uncle took Mira and me in the club and he was ahead of me. When the policeman stopped me to ask me a question, my nearly deaf uncle somehow heard what was said and mumbled something in return. I walked right through.

Now it's the end of Eid and I'm sitting at home alone. Hassan took Mira out for the day and went to Shabaan's.

As I was on the internet, I found a great website for lyrics to songs - just about any song one can imagine. You can guess what I did next - yes, I sure did -- played rock and roll star.



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